Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Patrick Goodenough

9/29/2012 (2 years ago)

CNSNews (www.cnsnews.com)

Rice, meanwhile, looks increasingly isolated on the matter, and Republican senators are seeking answers.

On Thursday Defense Secretary Leon Panetta became the latest senior administration official to affirm that the assault in Benghazi, which killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, was "a terrorist attack."

Highlights

By Patrick Goodenough

CNSNews (www.cnsnews.com)

9/29/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Libya, terroist attack, Susan Rice, Leon Panetta, Benghazi, Patrick Goodenough


WASHINGTON,DC (CNSNews.com) - As more senior administration officials use the word "terrorism" in describing the deadly September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice's repeated insistence five days later that the incident was a "spontaneous reaction" to an obscure anti-Islam video continues to draw scrutiny and criticism.

Fox News reports that administration officials knew within 24 hours that the Benghazi attack was terrorism.

On Thursday Defense Secretary Leon Panetta became the latest senior administration official to affirm that the assault in Benghazi, which killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, was "a terrorist attack."

"The reason I think it pretty clearly was a terrorist attack is because a group of terrorists obviously conducted that attack on the consulate and against our individuals," he told a Pentagon briefing.

"What terrorists were involved I think still remains to be determined by the investigation. But it clearly was a group of terrorists who conducted that attack against that facility."

Asked when he had reached this conclusion, Panetta ducked: "As we determined the details of what took place there, and how that attack took place, that it became clear that there were terrorists who had planned that attack, and that's when I came to that conclusion."

"It took a while to really get some of the feedback from what exactly happened at that location," he added.

Rice, meanwhile, looks increasingly isolated on the matter, and Republican senators are seeking answers.

"In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi that resulted in the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, you made several troubling statements that are inconsistent with the facts and require explanation," Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Ron Johnson (Wisc.) said in a letter to Rice on Wednesday.

"We look forward to a timely response that explains how the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations could characterize an attack on a U.S. consulate so inaccurately five days after a terrorist attack that killed four Americans."

Two other Republican senators are also pressing the administration for answers - not specifically about Rice's comments but about security threats in Libya in the run-up to the Sept. 11 attack.

In a letter to Clinton this week, Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) asked her to "transmit to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee all communications between the U.S. Mission to Libya and the State Department relevant to the security situation in Benghazi in the period leading up to the attacks, including, but not limited to, cables sent from Ambassador Stevens."

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday accused Republicans of politicizing the issue.

"Every step of the way, the information that we have provided to you and the general public about the attack in Benghazi has been based on the best intelligence we've had and the assessments of our intelligence community," he told reporters en route to an Obama campaign rally in Virginia Beach.

"We have said all along that there's an ongoing investigation and that as more facts come out, we will follow those facts wherever they lead and apprise you of our assessments as those facts come to light," he added.

"What has also been the case is that from the very first hours after the attacks and the unrest in Cairo, there has been an attempt, unfortunately, by Republicans, beginning with Governor Romney, to try to turn this event into a partisan issue, to try to score political points out of a terrorist attack that cost the lives of four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya - and that's unfortunate."

Carney reiterated that the president views the Benghazi assault as a terrorist attack, although the president himself has not used the word terrorism.

Timeline of administration statements two weeks ago:

Sept. 14 (late morning): White House press secretary Jay Carney tells a daily press briefing:  "Let's be clear, these protests were in reaction to a video that had spread to the region." Asked whether that applied to Benghazi, he replied, "We certainly don't know. We don't know otherwise.  We have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack."

Carney went on during that briefing to say repeatedly that the violence was a response to the video:

--"It is in response to a video, a film that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting."

--"This is in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims."

--"The unrest we've seen around the region has been in reaction to a video that Muslims, many Muslims find offensive."

--"Again, what we have seen is unrest around the region in response to a video that Muslims find offensive."

--"The reason why there is unrest is because of the film; this is in response to the film."

--"But the unrest that we've seen is in reaction to a film with which the United States government had no involvement."

Sept. 14 (late afternoon): State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland tells a daily press briefing: "I am going to frustrate all of you infinitely by telling you that now that we have an open FBI investigation on the death of these four Americans, we are not going to be in a position to talk at all about what the U.S. government may or may not be learning about how any of this happened - not who they were, not how they happened, not what happened to Ambassador Stevens, not any of it - until the Justice Department is ready to talk about the investigation that it's got.

"So I'm going to send you to the FBI on any of those kinds of questions, and they're probably not going to talk to you about them while the investigation is open."

Sept. 16: Rice does the round of Sunday talk shows:

On ABC's This Week:

"First of all, It's important to know that there's an FBI investigation that has begun and will take some time to be completed. That will tell us with certainty what transpired.  But our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous - not a premeditated - response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.

". What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region was a result - a direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the U.S. government had nothing to do with, which we have made clear is reprehensible and disgusting."

On CBS' Face the Nation:

"Based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy - sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that - in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent ... We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned."

On NBC's Meet the Press:

"Putting together the best information that we have available to us today our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of - of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video.  What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding."

On Fox News Sunday:

"But what sparked the recent violence was the airing on the Internet of a very hateful very offensive video that has offended many people around the world."

Sept. 17: Nuland tells a press briefing: "Ambassador Rice outranks me, as does my own boss, so she is often at liberty to say more than I am . the comments that Ambassador Rice made accurately reflect our government's initial assessment."


 

---

CNSNews.com is a division of the Media Research Center, a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) organization. Like National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System, CNSNews.com is able to provide its services and information to the public at no cost, thanks to the generous support of our thousands of donors and their tax-deductible contributions.This article is reprinted with permission.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Under Obama, black people 'are worse now than just about ever,' Donald Trump declares Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claims that he commands a large percentage of the Hispanic vote. He now says that African-American people are also on his side after U.S. President Barack Obama has let them down. Trump gave his customary ... continue reading


Greenhouse emissions cut down even more under Obama administration Watch

Image of President Barack Obama says. "Not anymore."" title=""Climate change is not a problem for another generation," U.S> President Barack Obama says. "Not anymore."" class="img-responsive img-thumbnail pull-left spacer-right">

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Far more drastic cuts on factory greenhouse emissions are coming; United States President Barack Obama has vowed to impose more cuts. The president, now in his concluding months of his presidency vows that these steps will be the most significant step in ... continue reading


What TOP-SECRET information is the Obama Administration keeping from you? Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It seems as though the Obama administration is trying to bury significant materials away from the public. Seventeen unclassified Iran deal items have been placed away in ultra-secure facilities that are normally used solely for top secret evidence. MUNTINLUPA, ... continue reading


SEVENTEEN VERY SCARY SECRETS: Obama administration keeping details on Iran nuclear deal hidden Watch

Image of Important facts are being kept from the public, just as Congress is deciding whether to support or oppose the Iran deal.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Obama administration is keeping details of the Iran nuclear agreement close to the vest. To date, only one aspect of the agreement has been made public. Seventeen other points made in the agreement is being kept secret with the exception of a few lawmakers. ... continue reading


California lawmakers run to the aid of communities suffering the worst in drought Watch

Image of The new legislation focuses on obtaining federal funding to get costly water projects off the ground. Feinstein and Boxer's bill pinpoints 26 promising desalination projects in California.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the record-breaking California drought stretches into its fifth year, lawmakers are passing legislation intended to help the communities hardest hit by water shortages. California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer have both introduced emergency drought ... continue reading


Why two religious Republican presidential candidates weren't invited to a major Christian event Watch

Image of The reason is not as controversial as many speculated.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Some were left puzzled as to why two Southern Baptist presidential candidates from the GOP were left out of a major Christian event; the reason was not as bad as some speculated. According to the official statement from the organizers of the event, the two candidates ... continue reading


Judge threatens to hold IRS chief John Koskinen in contempt for failing to turn over Lerner emails Watch

Image of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was threatened with contempt charges by a federal judge this week.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was threatened with contempt charges by a federal judge this week. Koskinen failed to produce, by decree, newly recovered emails of former IRS official Lois Lerner. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan had ordered the IRS at ... continue reading


Mitch McConnell says he will wipe out Obamacare with simple 51-vote majority Watch

Image of In the waning days of President Barack Obama's presidency, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is vowing to overthrow his signature legislation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the waning days of President Barack Obama's presidency, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is vowing to overthrow his signature legislation. Health care reform, better known as "Obamacare" has been a cause of disagreement with conservatives and ... continue reading


Moves made to oust John Boehner from Speaker of the House position Watch

Image of Rep. Mark Meadows [not pictured] declared his intention a day before the House was set to leave town for its five-week summer recess. Described as a rare procedural move, it's by far the most serious expression of opposition to Boehner's [pictured] speakership.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Many of his fellow conservatives and Republicans were taken by surprise when North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows said he was trying to oust Speaker John Boehner. Many say it's a bad idea, coming just before August recess. Others say such a move could plunge the House of ... continue reading


Ivana Trump hotly denies that ex-husband Donald Trump ever raped her Watch

Image of Ivana Trump, the former wife of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has denied claims that he ever raped her.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ivana Trump, the former wife of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has denied claims that he ever raped her. "I have recently read some comments attributed to me from nearly 30 years ago at a time of very high tension during my divorce from Donald. The story is ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Numbers 11:4-15
4 The rabble who had joined the people were feeling ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 81:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
12 So I left them to their stubborn selves, to follow ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:13-21
13 When Jesus received this news he withdrew by boat ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 3rd, 2015 Image

St. Lydia Purpuraria
August 3: Lydia Purpuraria (1st century) was born at Thyatira (Ak-Hissar), ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter